Cheap cloud hosting is pretty much a godsend, in many respects. But, like any technology, the cheapest version of it is going to have some problems. The natural question you’ll ask yourself is: are the problems that come along with cheap cloud hosting significant enough to ruin your ROI? Or are they work-arounds, simple nuisances you can deal with- while still enjoying the benefits of free hosting.
Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone out there as to which answer will be correct, and it won’t be the same answer for everyone, not by a long shot. But, what I can do, however, is outline a few of the bigger problems: what causes them? what are the ‘consequences’?… then let you be the judge from there.
My goal is just to give you an informed look as to the caveats that come with cheap cloud hosting, versus the pricier offerings out there. Even in a big corporation with huge budgets, it’s still quite logical to seek out the cheaper reputable services, when possible.
Before you make a decision, check out the 3 major issues regarding cheap cloud hosting.
#1 – 99% Uptime, Not 100 …
“Uptime” is the percentage of time that your system is fully operational. Uptime is expressed in 9’s. For example, “four nines” means that a system is fully operational 99.99% of the time. Cloud hosting of a more affordable (heck sometimes even free) nature will boast a 99% uptime. This is because these virtual host profiles are all shared by a larger set of machines; When too many of these virtual accounts have scaled workloads at the same time, some will be denied permission to run at all – until the system is no longer overworked.
The result is an inevitable period of time “now and then” when your site, hosted on one of these providers, just won’t load. The host responds in one of three ways: it will just give the user a ‘denial of service’ message, redirect them to the host’s main site, or simply time out altogether.
Now, even the best hosting in the world can occasionally just go down for a few minutes, so a user may not think less of you for this. The thing is, with free or cheap cloud hosting – downtime will be more frequent than with other solutions. You need to carefully weigh how detrimental this will be for your company; it all depends on your site and its purpose, as well as the mindset of your demographic.
#2 – Supplemental Advertising
If a cloud host is particularly affordable, even if some fee is charged, chances are they are going to supplement the per-unit profitability of accounts by forcing some kind of advertising onto the sites. This is nothing new to veterans of the internet, who used free hosting from the start (with services like Tripod, Geocities or Angelfire). However, those services had a certain assumed reputation of not being for professional sites for one thing.
Now, most professional sites still have some advertising on them -because it’s just logical to strap a profit generator to your page – and heck, this kind of affiliate marketing is pretty much expected of you. But know now that these ‘forced ads’ will not benefit you; unlike voluntary advertising that you place, you have no control over what is advertised, or how the ad technology works, meaning that it could be something pretty annoying and potentially inappropriate in its nature.
#3 – Major Caps
Particularly cheap cloud hosting is probably going to put one or two caps on things that can really hamper your site. These two things are drive space and bandwidth.
Drive space will quickly become an issue if you have a lot of user generated content or serve files for a user to download; the site could quickly outgrow its space and cause you any number of problems.
Along with this, comes limited bandwidth -an even bigger problem; No matter what, visits and posts in either direction will quickly eat away at your provided bandwidth, and downloads of files, if you host such things, will eat away at it too.
If you have to accept one of these limitations, it should be disk space, though, because bandwidth limitations are just trouble. Avoid limited bandwidth.
I hope I shed some light by outlining 3 things you didn’t know about cheap cloud hosting. Like anything else, just outweigh the pros and cons before choosing your cloud hosting provider. Good Luck!